American experts claim that there are three prerequisites for a significant Ukrainian breakthrough
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says there are three assumptions that must be met for Ukraine to make "significant progress". If one of the assumptions turns out to be wrong, ISV claims that the hypothesis of "significant Ukrainian success" will be wrong.
The first assumption is that Russian forces do not have the necessary reserves or combat power to maintain a line of defense in the Zaporozhye region. The American think tank states as a second assumption that Ukrainian forces must retain "sufficient combat power" to continue pushing after the "exhaustion" of the Russian army.
The Russian military command may be ordering these counterattacks to buy time, but it is unclear how the Kremlin intends to use time bought at such a price.
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- ISW (@TheStudyofWar) September 25, 2023
The final assumption is that the Russian defensive positions behind the current battle area are not as mined or well prepared as the fortifications breached by Ukrainian forces. At present, all three assumptions appear to be correct, but it is not possible to predict with certainty whether they will hold.
ISV emphasizes that Russian forces in the Zaporozhye region are thinned out, especially in its western part. Ukrainian operations around Bakhmut keep Russia's focus on eastern Ukraine and away from the southern front, which has made Moscow unable to build strategic reserves in the area.